The Haitian Donkey is back in warm and very wet Haiti with friends


Hi All:
I didn’t get a chance to send you an update last time after we got back to let you know how the end of the week went. The last few days were a flurry of activities as we tried to wrap up projects and plan for further ones as well as what the Haitian part of our construction crew would do during our absence. The trip home went well, for which we are very grateful, and we settled back into the USA part of our lives smoothly. Had a good week getting to know Mark Snyder better and meeting and working with his son, Andrew, great additions to our Haiti team as they are innovative and can help bring dreams into reality, especially considering our limitations in non first world countries.

The three weeks in the US were hectic, trying to get things organized in that part of our lives, especially since we had the storm added to disrupt things, as well as trying to run Georgetown Medical Center for the better part of 4 days without the telephone or computer functioning. It certainly reminds us of the positive and negative effects of technology when it works and, more so, when it doesn’t. My partner, Dr. Lugthart, took a week vacation right before I left for Haiti, so that made that last week even more interesting. I am thankful for my supportive wife (and family) as well as my great coworkers who put up with the demands added to our lives as we try to serve God here in Haiti as well as the US. It is hectic and crazy at times, but so much better with such fantastic people to share the burdens that come with the territory.

We packed our 9 suitcases the week before and were ready and at the airport on time at 4:30 am on Saturday. We had a quick (40 minutes) layover in Chicago and were on our way to Miami on time. However, that was the end of the smoothness. On arrival in Miami, we were told our plane would be 4 hours late to Haiti. The rationale was that they had no crew available to fly the plane til then??? About 1 hour before departure, they announced that we would be another 1/2 hour late and brought out sandwiches, snacks and drinks to smooth out the restless customers. They asked everyone to take one of each, something not comprehensible to a Haitian mindset. The grinning little old ladies walked off with 4 of each item, typical for what happens each time one has a dinner for our people. We got on board and had a good trip, used a new thought process to get through customs smoothly and out the door at 8:45 pm in the dark. As we left, a major deluge dropped from the heavens and we were soaked just in the short trip to our vehicle. The roads in Port were more like a river, in places several feet deep and major chaos ensued. On good days, Haitians are not known to stay on their side of the road if there is a slow up of traffic up ahead, now there were often stalled vehicles drowning in the muddy water, so the traffic would form another line next to it, in places the other direction was 4 cars wide and we had only half a shoulder to go on. A governmental car with his red and blue flashers tried to squeeze past us, riding on our side of the barrier and bumped into our cow catcher front bumper, doing some damage to his side. The angry official screamed that he had the right of way, as was the government and pulled a gun on Jean Eddy, placing the barrel on his chest to intimidate him, which he was succeeding in doing. He demanded that I give him $400 USD for the damage to his car and we finally were able to continue our soggy trip. I fear this country runs by intimidation and will only get worse as the fairly ineffectual UN pulls out in October.

Tom Failing was trying to pass a kidney stone, plus has about as nasty a case of motion sickness as John Harlett and I do, so we made a straggly bunch as we finally came out of the water and continued on our way, arriving at the hospital at 3:20 am, wet, droopy and bewildered. We all were soon in our various beds, not caring much about the niceties of preparation for that and slept til the morning light arrived to start our week of work here. Tom, John and Kurt went to Renault and then assessed the situation with the new developments, including some we had no idea existed, like USAID putting solar panels up on the treehouse that the men crews sleep in (right where they hoped to put a second roof of our steel to allow some space for the heat to escape before pounding on their heads). I saw a goodly number of patients and we all had a nice visit by Dr. William and his lovely family. He has vacation this week and will be operating with Moise and me, something I am looking forward to enjoying. He did say that he was not one of the 2 (of 6) residents that could read enough of the scribbles and come up with the answers to pass the test, so he will have to try again in a couple months. Pray for wisdom and strength for him as he continues to work towards this lofty goal of ours. He said that there are rumors that another strike may take place, that is a definite prayer request, as that already has cost him a year of work/time.

We are all dried out, have settled into the routine laid out for us for the week and thankful that the trip was not any more painful than it was. Thanks for praying for us and supporting our efforts for His glory here at Centre de Sante Lumiere in Les Cayes, Haiti.

In His Service,

Bill, John, Kurt and Tom